Ethnicity and Belonging: An Overview of a Study of Cuban, Haitian and Guatemalan Immigrants to Florida


  • Julia Chaitin Sapir Academic College
  • J. P. Linstroth Nova Southeastern University
  • Patrick T. Hiller Nova Southeastern University



Cubans, Haitians, Guatemalans, ethnicity, belonging, home, immigration


This article provides an overview of an interdisciplinary qualitative study that explored the personal meanings and public expressions of home, ethnicity and belonging among Cuban, Haitian and Guatemalan immigrants to Florida. We present the theoretical bases for the study, a description of the interview and observational methods employed, and the major themes discerned in the analyses of the biographical interviews. This paper provides a gateway to the four articles in this special issue, which will then focus specifically on one major theme found to be important for each of the sub-groups. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0903122


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Author Biographies

Julia Chaitin, Sapir Academic College

Dr. Julia CHAITIN received her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (Beer Sheva). She is a researcher/practitioner who specializes in the social-psychological aspects of massive social trauma on victims and their descendants. Her work focuses on: (1) the long–term impact of the Holocaust on survivors and their families and on Jewish-Israeli young adults; (2) joint Palestinian-Israeli research on the impact of the conflict on peoples in the region and (3) issues of ethnic belonging and identity among refugee/immigrant populations. Dr. CHAITIN specializes in qualitative research, basing her work on narrative research, ethnography, storytelling and inter–group facilitation. She has published extensively in these fields. Her latest books are Childhood in the Shadow of the Holocaust [edited together with Zahava Solomon of Tel Aviv University] (2007, Hakibbutz Hameuchad Press, in Hebrew) and Inside-Out: Personal and Collective Life in Israel and the Kibbutz (2007, University Press of America). Dr. CHAITIN is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Work at the Sapir College and a senior staff member at the Negev Institute for Strategies of Peace and Development (NISPED)—an NGO that works on peace and sustainable human development between Jews and Palestinians within Israel and between Israel/Palestine.

J. P. Linstroth, Nova Southeastern University

J.P. LINSTROTH obtained his D.Phil. in social anthropology from the University of Oxford. Most of his research is concerned with understanding ethnic-minority groups, whether Spanish-Basques, Cuban, Haitian, or Guatemalan-Maya immigrants in the US, or urban Amerindians in Brazil. Dr. LINSTROTH was co-awarded an Alexander Von Humboldt Grant (2005-2007) to study immigrant identity in South Florida and has recently been awarded a Fulbright Foreign Scholar Grant (2008-2009) as a visiting professor at the Universidade Federal do Amazonas (UFAM) and for fieldwork amongst urban Amerindians in Manaus, Brazil. LINSTROTH has published several scholarly articles and has two forthcoming books, titled respectively: Marching Against Gender Practice: political imaginings in the Basqueland; and, Violence and Peace Re-Imagined: a new interdisciplinary theory for cognitive anthropology. Currently, he is Assistant Professor of Conflict Resolution and Anthropology at Nova Southeastern University.

Patrick T. Hiller, Nova Southeastern University

Patrick HILLER holds an M.A. in Human Geography from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich, Germany. Patrick currently is a Doctoral Candidate at the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Nova Southeastern University. In his dissertation he explores the processes of identity formation of nonviolent peace activists in the United States. He is a co-investigator of an ongoing international study on ethnicity and sense of belonging among refugee and immigrant populations in the United States and Germany. Following an interdisciplinary approach, his work and research interests encompass conflict resolution, peace studies, ethnicity, human rights, nationalism, social justice, Mexico, Latin America, social/peace movements, identity formation, culture and conflict and migration. He has experience working with NGOs that promote social justice in Mexico.




How to Cite

Chaitin, J., Linstroth, J. P., & Hiller, P. T. (2009). Ethnicity and Belonging: An Overview of a Study of Cuban, Haitian and Guatemalan Immigrants to Florida. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(3).